David Campbell Bannerman has been an MEP for the East of England since 2009. In May he defected from the UK Independence Party to the Conservatives.
The furore over the Dale Farm traveller site has exposed the level of opposition that the Conservative movement faces. Planning laws have been violated and the Council have acted. If Joe Public didn’t have planning permission for a flag pole, chances are the Council will jump on the perpetrator. So why is there a big public debate on the Dale Farm issue? Surely it’s a simple case of ‘you didn’t have planning permission, so it comes down?’ Was Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour having his human rights violated when Hove Council rejected a planning application for a beach hut? Where was Vanessa Redgrave then? Celebrity solidarity was clearly lacking on that one.
Yet Dale Farm has become a cause celebre for the human rights brigade, far-leftists and anarchists to advance an issue that the public are wholly opposed to. On the first day of the eviction process, there were more ‘human rights’ protesters on the site than there were residents. And it’s not just related to the usual suspects. Labour’s sole Eastern MEP Richard Howitt has been proudly defending the illegal site, demanding that the Government listen to the Council of Europe and Amnesty International on this rather than the wishes of the people of his constituency.
Who does he think he is? He has a duty to defend the law-abiding residents of the Eastern counties. What have the taxpaying, peaceful residents of Basildon, Wickford and Crays Hill done to have their European Parliament representative go the extra mile to protect an illegal camp site? What about their rights?
It is all well and good that Ed Miliband sides with the Government and Basildon Council on the issue, but he apparently has no control over renegade MEPs who side with other far-Left activists for a cause that seemingly spites local residents who are trying to get on with their lives.
Most staggering is the outrageous behaviour of the UN. Rather than highlight genuine human rights abuses, such as arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and political violence running rampant in the dictatorships of the world, the UN decides to step in to support the illegal camp in Basildon. A word to the UN – the due process followed by Basildon Council and their process of appeal are absent in Zimbabwe, Iran, Burma and other dictatorships around the world. It seems that even the UN isn't above twisting the concept of ‘human rights’ to play cheap political games.
Sadly, this rabble will line up to halt any conservative reforms of New Labour’s laws. The battle against the Human Rights Act needs to begin to redraw the law in favour of the law abiding and not the law breaking. Celebrities, pseudo charities, government funded NGOs, remnants of Old Labour and the metropolitan elite will stand up to fight against the repeal of the HRA. The HRA didn't invent human rights, it actually took rights away. The Government needs to be as bold as Basildon Council has been. It must stand alongside the law-abiding and tear up the Human Rights Act.